Mexico Survives Epic World Cup Qualifier vs Honduras After Dramatic Late Penalty

Mexico Survives Epic World Cup Qualifier vs Honduras After Dramatic Late Penalty
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Mexico vs. Honduras: A Drama-Filled World Cup Qualifier

The World Cup qualifier between Mexico and Honduras on October 10, 2021 was one of the most dramatic matches in recent CONCACAF history. Playing at the iconic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, a raucous crowd of over 80,000 fans created an electric atmosphere for this crucial game between the regional rivals.

High Stakes

With only three automatic World Cup spots up for grabs, every game was critical for both teams. Mexico sat in third place heading into the match, while Honduras was clinging to the final automatic qualifying spot in fourth. A win for Mexico would strengthen their position, while Honduras desperately needed points to fend off the hard-charging fifth place team.

Mexico Dominates Early

As expected, star players like Hirving "Chucky" Lozano and Jesus "Tecatito" Corona gave Mexico dangerous attacking power from the opening whistle. They relentlessly pressed forward and peppered the Honduras goal with shots. Honduras defended valiantly, but the Mexicans finally broke through in the 27th minute. A brilliant through ball from Lozano found Corona, who slotted home to give Mexico a 1-0 lead.

Honduras Equalizes

Mexico continued to control possession after the goal, but couldn't extend their lead. Then in the 57th minute, disaster struck for Mexico when Honduras forward Alberth Elis pounced on a defensive miscue and scored to level the match 1-1. The Honduran bench erupted, knowing how valuable the away goal could prove to be.

Late Drama

The final half hour was end-to-end action, with both teams desperate to find a winner. Tempers flared and referee Said Martinez doled out several yellow cards to players on both sides. As the game entered stoppage time, Mexico frantically pressed for the winning goal. In the 10th minute of added time, the referee awarded a questionable penalty to Mexico, setting off vehement protests from the Hondurans.

Captain Andres Guardado stepped up to take the penalty, knowing the World Cup hopes of his country rested on his shoulders. Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez made a heroic diving save to deny Guardado! Lopez and his teammates celebrated, but incredibly the referee ordered the penalty to be retaken due to encroachment in the area.

On the second attempt, Guardado converted the retaken penalty in the 11th minute of stoppage time to give Mexico a dramatic 2-1 victory. The Honduran players furiously surrounded the referee after the final whistle, but the decision stood, triggering wild celebrations from the Mexico team and fans.

Controversy and Aftermath

The chaotic ending left Honduras feeling robbed of a valuable road point. Coach Fabian Coito criticized the refereeing decisions after the match, but later apologized to avoid a suspension. The contentious loss meant Honduras fell to fifth place in the standings, while Mexico strengthened their grip on an automatic qualification spot.

Mexican media and fans accused Honduras of exaggerating contact and playing theatrically throughout the game to win fouls. But El Tri were also criticized for some overly aggressive fouls and a lack of composure in key moments.

Match Sets Up Epic Final Day

In the end, Mexico accomplished their aim of securing three crucial points. But rather than settling the qualifying picture, the drama-filled affair only enhanced the excitement for the upcoming final day. Just one point separates Honduras in fourth place from Panama and Costa Rica trying to overtake them. It sets up a do-or-die final match day when Mexico travels to Honduras and Panama faces Costa Rica.

With so much on the line, expect more twists and turns before the three automatic World Cup places are decided. Mexico and the U.S. have claimed two spots, but the third won't be resolved until the final whistle on Wednesday, March 30. Thanks to its late penalty heroics, Mexico controls its own destiny while Honduras faces a must-win situation. It should make for an epic conclusion to CONCACAF's World Cup qualifying campaign.

FAQs

What was the final score of the Mexico vs. Honduras match?

Mexico defeated Honduras 2-1.

Who scored the goals for Mexico?

Jesus "Tecatito" Corona scored in the first half and Andres Guardado converted a late penalty for Mexico's goals.

Why was so much extra time added in this match?

The referee added an extraordinary 10 minutes of stoppage time due to injuries, substitutions, video reviews and other delays during the second half.

What happened with the penalty kick at the end?

Guardado's initial penalty was saved but ordered to be retaken. He converted the retake in the 11th minute of added time.

How did the result impact World Cup qualifying?

The win strengthened Mexico's hold on 3rd place while dropping Honduras down to 5th with one match left.

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